Motivating College Students

Motivating College Students

1. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

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            Using this particular motivation theory, university administrators or college instructors pay close attention to the creativity of students and their ability to accept facts. Instructors may choose to remain in the sidelines while learning is achieved by acting only as facilitators. For example, students are given free rein to analyze and criticize literary text according to their own perception and understanding. The instructor must maintain that there are no right or wrong answers.

2. Reinforcement Theory

            In this approach, the instructor proposes a “contract” between him/her and the students. In it, behaviors which merit incentives or rewards are outlined, along with behaviors which merit a corresponding correction or punishment. At the start of the term, the contract is signed by both parties and will serve as a guide for students to achieve good grades, motivating them. This method is particularly useful in encouraging students to continuously improve their learning skills.

3. Expectancy Theory

            This approach ties rewards closely to performance. Students who have performed well in class are given appropriate rewards, such as bonus points or other academic benefits. Basically, the instructor makes it clear to students that the more effort they put into their work, the better their job performance will be, resulting in more or better rewards.

4. Goal-setting Theory

            This requires a lot of motivation from instructors. More than that, constant feedback and monitoring is essential for the students to check on their own performance. This approach is time-consuming but effective in individually identifying the skills and problems of students. Keeping track of a students’ written outputs, quizzes, and journals and open dialogue with each student will facilitate better learning.

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